A Lebanese tourist who was arrested last month for posting a video on Facebook complaining about sexual harassment and conditions in Egypt, was sentenced to eight years in prison by a Cairo court on Saturday, her lawyer said.
Mona el-Mazbouh was arrested at Cairo airport at the end of her stay in Egypt after she published a 10-minute video on her Facebook page, laced with vulgarity and profanity against Egypt and Egyptians.
During her tirade, Mazbouh called Egypt a lowly, dirty country and Egyptian men pimps and women prostitutes.
Mazbouh, 24, complained of being sexually harassed by taxi drivers and young men in the street, as well as poor restaurant service during Ramadan, in addition to an incident in which money and other belongings were stolen.
Mazbouh said in the video that she has visited Egypt several times in the past four years.
A Cairo court found her guilty of deliberately spreading false rumours that would harm society, attacking religion, and public indecency, judicial sources said.
An appeals court will now hear the case on July 29, according to Mazbouh’s lawyer, Emad Kamal.
“Of course, God willing, the verdict will change. With all due respect, to the judiciary, this is a severe ruling. It is in the context of the law, but the court was applying the maximum penalty,” he said.
Kamal said a surgery Mazbouh underwent in 2006 to remove a brain clot has impaired her ability to control anger, a condition documented in a medical report he submitted to the court.
She also suffers from depression, Kamal said.
The video went viral, which prompted many Egyptian women to take to the social media publishing their own videos to express their own anger at Mazbouh, while responding in kind against Lebanon and Lebanese women.
The day before being arrested, she posted a second video on Facebook apologising to Egyptians.
Egyptian rights activists say they face the worst crackdown in their history under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, accusing him of erasing freedoms won in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
His supporters say such measures are needed to stabilise Egypt after years of turmoil that drove away foreign investors and amid an Islamist insurgency concentrated in the Sinai Peninsula.